Tomb of the Patriarchs
JERUSALEM – Muslim worshipers at Judaism’s second holiest site this past weekend reportedly urinated next to Torah scrolls and strew Hamas flags throughout the structure.
The desecration occurred at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is believed to be home to the resting place of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah. The tomb is located in the West Bank city of Hebron, site of the oldest Jewish community in the world.
The tombs of Abraham, Jacob, Sarah and Leah are open to Jews year round, whereas the tombs of Isaac and Rebecca are designated for Muslim worship only. Once a year for 10 days, usually on the Islamic Ramadan holiday, the Jewish sections are opened exclusively for Muslims. The Muslim sections are also opened for Jews once a year for 10 days, which usually includes the Jewish Passover holiday.
Muslims last week had exclusive access to the tombs of Abraham, Jacob, Sarah and Leah. Jewish worshipers who returned to the site this weekend reported a foul smell in a synagogue on the Jewish side coming from the area of an Ark containing Torah scrolls.
“They had desecrated one of the holy arks. They had urinated right next to it. One of the men went in and found a big puddle of urine there next to the Ark,” Hebron spokesman David Wilder told Israel National News.
Wilder and other Jewish witnesses said when they reentered the tomb they found Hamas flags in the markers of the burial chambers of Abraham, Jacob, Sarah and Leah.
Noam Arnon, another spokesman Hebron, said there is always some sort of damage discovered after Muslims get exclusive rights to worship at the Jewish areas of the tomb.
“It is not all the Muslims,” he said. “But there always are a few who in the past have ripped mezuzot off the entrances to the rooms of worship or simply leave behind vandalism. Complaints have been filed with the police in the past, but no one ever has been arrested.”
Wilder added that in the past, Muslim worshipers tore up Psalm booklets and Jewish prayer books.
The book of Genesis relates Abraham purchased the field where the Tomb of the Patriarchs is located as a burial place for his wife, Sarah. It later became a plot for the rest of the family, except for Jacob’s wife, Rachel, who died when she gave birth while traveling and was buried on a road in Bethlehem.
Muslims trace their lineage through Abraham, as well. Palestinian leaders deny there is any Jewish claim to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
“The Torah was falsified by the Jews. We don’t believe in all your versions,” stated Chief Palestinian Justice Taysir Tamimi in a recent WND interview.
Hebron is the oldest Jewish community in the world, with Jews having lived there almost continuously for over 2,500 years. There are accounts of the trials of the city’s Jewish community throughout the Byzantine, Arab, Mameluke and Ottoman periods.
In 1929, as a result of an Arab pogrom in which 67 Jews were murdered, the entire Jewish community fled the city, with Hebron becoming temporarily devoid of Jews. Jews returned when Israel recaptured the area in 1967.
King David was anointed in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years. A thousand years later, during the first Jewish revolt against the Romans, the city was the scene of extensive fighting in which many Jews were killed.
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